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Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena Jens Geelhaar 路 Frank Eckardt 路 Bernd Rudolf Sabine Zierold 路 Michael Markert (Eds.)


Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena Jens Geelhaar 路 Frank Eckardt 路 Bernd Rudolf Sabine Zierold 路 Michael Markert (Eds.)


MediaCity Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena

MediaCity Conference 2010 Bauhaus-Universität Weimar http://www.mediacityproject.org/2010 Coverdesign by Michael Markert All articles Š 2010 by their respective authors All rights reserved.

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Contents E-City: From Researching the Virtual Towards Understanding the Real Urban Life

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Frank Eckardt The Practice of Cybernetic Urbanism

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Raoul Bunschoten Daniel Wedler Sentient City Survival Kit: Archaeology of the Near Future

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Mark Shepard Digital Metropolis: The Implications of Information Densification for Spatial Society

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Noah Ives Interface Design for Shared Spaces

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Nina Valkanova Media Architecture as Social Catalyst in Urban Public Spaces

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Hendrik Weiner

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Cidadania

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Rolf Kruse Pedro Aibéo Where the Action Should Be Learning from MicroPublicPlaces

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Marc Böhlen Sound as Interface

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Petros Kataras Ermis Adamantidis Alaa Alfakara Sonic Activation Spectral Architectural Memories

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Eva Sjuve Fernfühler – Intelligent Furniture for the Architecture of Tomorrow

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Matthias Weber Sebastian Hundertmark Ursula Damm Large Screens and Small Screens: Public and Private Engagement with Urban Projections Geoffrey Shea Michael Longford

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Creativity, Knowledge, Engagement: Keys to Finding the Right Governance Model for a Regional Community Precinct

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Kirralie Houghton Marcus Foth Greg Hearn Urban Overlay

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Martin Kohler Kai von Luck Jens Wille Boulevard of Production: A Future Talents Attractor

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Georg Flachbart Ivan Redi New Media as a Catalyst for Integration in Cross-Border Regions?

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Jan-Philipp Exner Guido Kebbedies The Mythological City

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Peter Wendl MediaCity’s Atmospheric Commons

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Jordan Geiger

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Sensing Digital Identity and Stimulating Digital Co-Presence

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Eleni Sotiriou, Marco Krechel, Hugo Loureiro, Madhav Kidao, Paul Goodship Public Space 2.0

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Sandrine von Klot Drawing Circles Search on Mobile Devices

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Mathias Mitteregger “Small Texts”?: Text Messages, Art and Public Spheres

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Frauke Behrendt Social Media Platforms as Strategic Models for Local Community Development

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Tanya Søndergaard Toft Infrastructure: An Instrument Of Urban Morphology

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Seung Ra C@rchitecture: The Architecture-Infrastructure Synergy Marthijn N. Pool

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Lift@Weimar: Sustainable Interaction with Food, Technology, and the City

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Jaz Hee-jeong Choi Marcus Foth Mobile Applications in Urban Planning

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Karsten M. Drohsel Peter Fey Stefan Höffken Stephan Landau Dr. Peter Zeile Adaptive Architecture – A Conceptual Framework

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Holger Schnädelbach Mobile Node: Open Portable Infrastructure Overlapping Digital Paths

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Efraín Foglia Cyberspace as a Locus for the Sustainability of Urban Collective Memory

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Segah Sak Burcu Şenyapılı

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Interactive Spaces Reactivating Architectural and Urban Space by Tracing the NonVisual

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Katja Knecht RAINBOWS

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Kyd Campbell The Facadeprinter – A Distance Printing Device for Communication in Urban Contexts Julian Adenauer Michael Haas, Martin Fussenegger Adrienne Gispen

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Sensing Digital Identity and Stimulating Digital Co-Presence An Exploration of Digital Identity and the Application of this Concept Via a Virtual Pinboard Eleni Sotiriou, Marco Krechel, Hugo Loureiro, Madhav Kidao, Paul Goodship The Bartlett, UCL eleni.sotiriou.09@ucl.ac.uk, marco.krechel.09@ucl.ac.uk, hugo.loureiro.09@ucl.ac.uk, madhav.kidao.09@ucl.ac.uk, paul.goodship.09@ucl.ac.uk

Abstract This paper illustrates the development and findings of an interactive installation implemented by a team from University College London. The installation takes the form of a digital pin board allowing users with Bluetooth capability to leave messages for one another within a public domain. Each user represented a specific yet anonymous graphic within the display and as such the aim was for real conversations and relationships to form between individual identities. This paper sets out to reflect on the ubiquitous and pervasive characteristics of the digital layers in contemporary society and analyses the results of one possible application of the Bluetooth technology as a social facilitator. It also draws on our own experiences in the design and trial of a virtual interface and its implications in the local Bluetooth networks.

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Introduction The notion of a digital identity as the digital representation of an individual within a virtual community is not a new one. However, with the increasingly pervasive nature of mobile technologies, as well as the diversity of their applications, the value of this alternate identity is becoming more important as it gets increasingly ingrained within our day to day lives. The mobile phone with incorporated technologies such as GPS and Bluetooth is an essential tool to navigate and communicate with or within different communities, creating a wireless interaction space, which enables the user to transfer data or to communicate with other users in a short range distance using one technology. The wireless interaction spaces are mobile, as they move with the users and can lead to unexpected events. O’Neill et al. defines interaction spaces as “... spaces that are created by designed artefacts. These spaces define the physical boundaries within which the device or artefact is useable.” (O’Neill et al., 1999). The key for the research was to design an interaction space within a public place to explore the digital identity, created by users of mobile devices. Therefore we had to implement a tool that would enable us to observe how people understand the digital space and how they use it in order to express themselves, communicate and interact. The aim was to create an installation that would start an interaction process and would give the opportunity to the users to better comprehend not only their digital presence in the hybrid space but also the potential of wireless technologies. The general tool is wireless Bluetooth (BT) scanning of mobile devices. The customisable name of an enabled Bluetooth device such as mobiles or notebooks is visualized on a virtual Pin Board that plays the role of a medium to project people’s presence and enable interactions, towards the formation of instantaneous virtual communities. 330 MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena


In a first step the virtual Pin Board acts as a proactive display as it senses and responds to the physical presence of individuals or groups of people. In the second step it tries to encourage the attendees to participate, being physically identifiable but due to the use of the technology anonymous, hidden behind the digital identity.

Aims and objectives Our research interests were defined around the following four key points: 1. Access to the interaction space Raise people’s awareness about their digital presence: Are they conscious of their presence in digital communities? Usefulness of interaction design in a physical and architectural context: Do people realize the full potential of pervasive technologies to their lives? 2. Medium Understanding people’s behaviours in response to a specific application of BT mobile technology: Is it possible to engage people to communicate via digital devices? Exploring the potentialities of BT technology: How effective is BT technology on promoting interactions? 3. Communication and interaction with others through the installation Can communication (in any form, digital or not) and expression be affected by anonymity? Can it be facilitated if people’s identity is hidden / protected? Do people express themselves more spontaneously? 4. Environment How can the nature of space and different locations in the same space influence or stimulate people’s interactions? MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena 331


Background To fully develop these aims and objectives, we looked at past examples of interactive urban installations, specifically focusing on three projects – Gyorol, Loca and txthealing. Each of these projects would enable us to develop the key points from our research interests. Gyorol (access key) is a user led interaction game where 2D data matrix barcode scanning is used as a key to gain access. This led us to think about the way the public accessed interactive urban installations and how this was achieved successfully (http://gyorol.bascule.co.jp). Loca (identity) is an artist led interdisciplinary project on mobile media and surveillance, confronting passersby with intimate knowledge, and is mostly controlled via BT. This helped us to reflect on the invasiveness of digital technology and the negative perception the public can have of it, as no one knows who is watching (http://www.loca-lab.org). txthealing (communication) is a performance format that encourages development of dialog through text messaging from mobile phones. It allowed us to consider the positive participation that can emerge within the public when simple and fun interfaces are created with the use of mobile technology. (http://www.txtualhealing.com)

Figure 01. Information received from Bluetooth scanning. This would not only be used to create our interface, but also represent the key points from our research – Access, Identity and Communication

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These three projects allowed us to reflect on the crucial elements of interactive urban installations and helped us create the methodology for our installation. McDonald et al. summarizes two streams of existing research in the augmentation of physical social spaces: “One stream can be characterized as wearable or handheld technologies that attempt to facilitate interactions between people, between people and computers or between people and artifacts; the other focuses on the use of large displays in shared contexts.” (McDonald et al. 2008). Our aim was to combine both streams in which the user with his enabled BT device communicates via a large display with other participants by manipulating his mobile settings. As mentioned by Rogers and Rodden most shared display applications require direct, explicit manipulation at or near the display, which may limit people’s willingness to step up and participate (Rogers and Rodden 2003). The virtual Pin Board as a proactive display overcomes this problem by detecting passersby via their enabled Bluetooth devices, projecting their digital identity on a large screen in a public space, starting a possible communication.

Methodology For the methodology, we drew upon the research methods of a similar installation in Bath by a team from University College London (Fatah gen. Schieck et al, 2008). This team set up an interactive urban installation to investigate people’s awareness of their own digital presence and how they responded when encountering this presence. The experiment displayed individuals’ BT usernames on a large projection and encouraged participants to respond by changing their BT usernames. It was an observational study into people’s responses to pervasive technology and MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena 333


how it changes the spatial environment and people’s social behaviours. This demonstrated to us how an installation of this type can greatly change the immediate environment, therefore making micro scale observations – before and during the installation – was very important for developing qualitative research results. This was mostly done with conventional observation techniques and allowed us to continuously develop and refine our experiments. We also similarly looked at differing locations for the installation, in order to gain a greater understanding of the type of location and people needed to encourage interaction with our interface. By observing past studies like this we were able to build upon their findings and results in order to develop a methodology to study our own aims and objectives. Therefore, the four underlining metaphors for our project, that were previously discussed – Access, Medium , Communication and Environment – have been developed to formulate a methodology that draws inspiration from past examples. 1. Access Make people aware of their digital presence. It is important to us that the public is aware of their presence in a digital space, therefore allowing them the choice to enter a digital space, or not. 2. Medium Create a semi-controlled installation to understand people’s behaviours in response to pervasive technology. By allowing the installation to be semicontrolled, this allows us to experiment with a variety of communicative methods, giving us a greater understanding of how people engage with pervasive technology.

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3. Communication Create a Virtual PinBoard to enable anonymous communication and exchange of information. This allows participants to engage with a larger community, through ubiquitous technology and a public interface. 4. Environment Develop an understanding of the type of environment that is needed to enable people to engage with pervasive technology. By understanding this type of environment – before and after the installations - at a microscale level, this will enable us to better appreciate the impact this type of technology has on the public. These four underlining metaphors allowed us to structure our development work and installation to be focused and directed towards our principle aims and objectives. Whilst, they may have regularly been refined, these basic metaphors remain constant throughout the project. Bearing in mind this, the methodological approach to implementing the installation is as follows: a) The technology around which we designed the installation was live BT scanning, which offers an anonymous pervasive technology and gives the chance for live interaction. This technology is embedded into most mobile devices and can be scanned using Cityware software, installed onto a laptop. This scanning will allow an active dialogue to be formulated between participants in a digital space. b) Create a clear and easily understood interface, with simple instructions to illustrate how participants can engage with the interface. This allows participants to illustrate their digital presence and communicate through mobile technology, creating an interface where digital identities can engage publicly with one another. MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena 335


c) Run qualitative and quantitative studies of the locations, before and during the experiment, to show how the installation affects space and people’s behaviour. These included systematic observations of activities in the space, 3D and layout sketches of the space, people watching and, photographic and video documentation. This allowed us to develop an understanding of the effects that the installation has on the immediate environment and start to learn how pervasive technology can influence the physical environment, as well as the digital one. d) Develop and test the installation in different environments. This allows different behaviours connected to each time and place to emerge, since it will establish the way different types of people interact with pervasive technology and how a different time and place can greater affect someone’s engagement with this type of technology. e) Promote the installation. Use leaflets to advertise the project and instruct people how to interact with the interface and send automated BT messages to people, repeating the initial question on the interface. This will create a greater awareness of the installation and reinforce the instructions for interacting with it. f ) Test the installation with passive observation, and then test it with a more active participatory promotion of it, to compare and contrast between the two. This is designed to create a greater appreciation of the public’s awareness and willingness to engage with the installation and allows us to better understand the types of scenarios required to entice the public into exploring their digital presence and environment. g) Distribute questionnaires to analyse and understand the results from the installation and collate feedback from participants. This allows us to

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qualitatively and quantitatively understand the public’s response to the installation and to draw conclusion upon their reactions. h) Analyse all data to discuss successes and failures, in relation to the projects aims and objectives. This allowed us to quantify the results and discuss its implementation and future developments.

Revaluate and Redefine Throughout the development stages and after each installation, the methodology and its implementation was revaluated and redefined in order to address problems – both technical and related to its execution - to maintain our principle goals. This would become a very important element in our methodology, as throughout the project there were many unknown elements that could only be established through trial and error. This would include improving the location, enhancing its ease of use, increasing awareness of the installation, and visually enriching the installation, along with many other minor improvements. By continually revaluating and redefining the installation and its implementation, this gave us the opportunity to constantly refine our aims and objectives and make them clearer and precise. However, whilst these aims and objectives persistently became more refined, the basic principles behind them remained the same, as the metaphors of ‘access’, ‘medium’, ‘communication’ and ‘environment’, would remain a constant guide to the implementation of the project and achieving our principle goals.

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Installation Our main aim was to implement a strategy to get people involved in a procedure that would have as its result the manifestation of the user ID on screen and a chance for communication with other users through that screen. The reactions of people were not predefined and hard-coded to allow the user’s creativity to alter or invent new patterns.

Figure 02. Layout of the virtual PinBoard

A script developed in the Processing Language scans and detects BT enabled phones and laptops. The individual’s device allows access to the local BT network which translates as visualization on a screen. Each participant is represented with a bubble floating on the screen displaying his mac address and the device’s username. The size of the bubbles is customized according to the size of the username. A question is displayed for some time on the same screen, with the intention of triggering some response from the users. The expected interaction would come by people changing their BT usernames, in response to the question. BlueMiner software was also used to send out automated BT messages to inform people of the question. 338 MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena


Locations / Context We looked at two contrasting locations to answer our objectives and to give us a greater understanding of people’s awareness of pervasive technology. These two locations, where the installation was implemented, were chosen considering that people would be more willing to socialise. The first one was a student Café, located inside University College London. It is one of the busiest and friendliest cafes in UCL, with a continuous flow of people and a relaxing environment. A Pub in the high street (Tottenham Court Road) was chosen as a second venue, for being as busy as the first one but frequented by working people, customers with very different social/ cultural profile.

Figure 03. Plan of the student café, UCL London indicating the position of the installation - 1st setup

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First Setup The first setup took place on a Friday during lunchtime. The location was the UCL Campus’ café, and particularly a small lounge next to the counter. The place at first looked suitable, because it is visible from some tables around and also, because the installation would attract the attention of people queuing to order. Our predictions proved to be wrong, first because the projection was rather small and could not attract attention immediately. Moreover, the people who queue obstruct the view of those sitting opposite the projection. Every 20 minutes we posed a question on the board and waited for people to give their answers by changing their Bluetooth names. On the board there was also a line of instructions.

Further improvements/refinements After the low interest in our first attempt the main observation was the strong connection between the location and people’s engagement. For the next setup, we had to rethink the location within the café and also, the improvements on the interface: static messages are not easy to read on the spot, therefore we had to keep only the necessary instructions and the question. Also, our passive observation of the installation did not have any effect, therefore, for the next setups the team would employ a more active participation in the process.

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Figure 04. Plan of the student café, UCL London indicating the position of the installation - 2nd setup

Second Setup The second setup took place on a weekday, in the same café during lunchtime. The board was projected on a central wall, between the two entrances, where it would be difficult for people to cross without noticing it. To encourage participation we started leaving our responses on the board. The reaction of the public was significantly improved compared to the first attempt, with a wide variety of different uses emerging, which also shows that the installation has the potential to inspire the public and extract creative behaviours. In order to advertise the project we had put leaflets on the tables, with an explanation and instructions on how to participate. It needs to be mentioned that the board worked better in cases where people were sitting with friends, and it was an opportunity to make fun, tease others or even talk to strangers. Despite the presence of clear instructions, in many cases there were people who didn’t understand how the installation worked and had to be guided through the procedure. One of the most interesting moments during the setup was when a candidate for the UCLU elections walked in and started advertising himself. He was

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approached and offered the board to communicate with his voters. With his participation, questions related to his campaign started to be displayed on the pin-board which triggered a quick reaction from the public. The candidate’s initial estrangement was gradually replaced by intrigue and astonishment. He started replying to the questions out loud and instigated by curiosity, tried to unveil the anonymity of the BT users in order to give a direct answer in person. We recognised this event as one of the “magic moments” described by Reid, Hull and Cater [2005] as the unexpected moments when physical and virtual collides and coexist in a harmonic and synaesthetic cooperation.

Figure 05. Plan of TCR Bar, Tottenham Court Road London indicating the position of the installation - 3rd setup

Third Setup One of the main observations was the strong connection between the location and the people’s engagement. The next step was to test the installation against a different social environment, to observe the kinds of uses and behaviours arising from different contexts. The second setup took place on a weekday evening, in a local pub. The configuration of the space was not very convenient; however, a big projection wall made the installation visible. Technical issues (the fact that most of the customers 342 MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena


owned an iPhone) prevented people from participating. Those who did interact did not care about responding in the questions posed, but preferred to leave their own messages on the board, teasing their friends and announcing their celebrations. In some cases, large groups of friends participated through common use of the same phone.

Process of the experiment When the installation was left to run alone, without our active participation, the interaction rates were kept on a low level in contrast to the cases where the team actively engaged in the experiment. Moreover, the advertisement of our project with leaflets and BT text messages during the second and third setups created a dramatic difference compared to the first half setup with people being unaware of the project. As mentioned already, the success was strongly linked to location, and therefore we always tried to find the most prominent spaces that would facilitate engagement. Also, throughout the experiments, the interface went through a process of refinement in order to make the messages easy to read, keep only the necessary instructions and use questions that would provoke reaction.

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Data Analysis Quantitative analysis The objective of the quantitative analysis is to assess people’s interactions in a bigger picture and measure the success of our experiment through the number of interactions and Bluetooth enabled devices. The following graphs illustrate the most representative moments of the three setups, measured by their higher numbers of participants and degrees of interactivity. The graph in appendix A clearly reflects the overall results of our first attempt. Judging from the total number of people in the cafe, 36% (15 people) were connected to the local BT network. From these, around 93% were using personalised usernames, suggesting high degree of awareness of their digital ID or BT technology. Interestingly, on that particular moment, only 26% of BT users were actually interacting with the pin-board. Overall, these numbers showed a very small response from the public and certainly did not reflect our expectations. They exposed, nevertheless, some weaknesses of our project, making us rethink about a few aspects of this installation regarding interface, approach and location. In our second attempt, the installation was better positioned in the cafe, allowing for greater viewing and interaction. Our participation as researchers, was also more active than in previous experiments. This is surely reflected in one of the moments represented by the graph in appendix B, which shows that 61% of the BT users demonstrated some interest in interacting with the pin-board, having their usernames changed in response to the question displayed on screen. Curiously, almost half of these were also performing active communication with other participants.

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The response was rather positive and two additional facts contributed to this outcome. The first is that a greater proportion (41%) of people in the cafe had their BT devices enabled, with 83% of these using personalised usernames and likely to be active users of this technology. The second is related to unexpected public events that happened alongside (i.e. the UCLU candidate event) and close to our experiment that jointly cooperated to an increased interest of the audience. But some issues were also noticed, pointing towards few refinements in our interface (i.e. positioning of elements on the screen) and questions with more engaging subjects. In our third and last set-up, the main objective was to test the effectiveness of the installation in a different kind of environment and time. Although realised during happy hour, the place chosen was not busy and not many people had their BT devices enabled (33%). But even so, 55% of interaction was achieved from the local BT network. The most interesting aspect comes from a higher percentage of users performing active communication with one another. Probably due to a different profile of audience and particular interest from certain groups of people, this communication consisted of some of these users changing their ID names 6 or 7 times, a much bigger figure if compared with previous experiments. For most of the experiments one could observe the emergence of different patterns of behaviour. The installation was mainly used to answer the questions posed, most of the times in a provocative way. But many other kinds of communication were created. The pin-board became a way to communicate with other unknown users, play with friends, make jokes, advertising and promoting people and ideas, etc. Also, there were many who changed their names constantly to respond to other users’ replies. The development of different and unexpected behaviours indicated that the openness of the installation may give plenty of room to user’s creativity. MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena 345


Questionnaire analysis The questionnaires, distributed during each of our experiments, allowed us to trace a better profile of the general public. The questions were formulated around two of the four key points of this study: access and communication. From the information collected from the questionnaires, one could realise that the majority of the interviewed people (63%) are conscious of their digital identities being inherently related to the use of BT or other pervasive technologies. Almost the same proportion (69%) believes that this virtual identity can be intrinsically related and effected by our physical presence. Online communities or message boards such as Facebook, Instant Messenger were indicated as the most popular, along with Linkedin, Twitter and Myspace. Interestingly, among all technologies available on a mobile phone, internet is the most used and, behind Wi-Fi, GPS and email, Bluetooth was the last. Also, 73% of the people admitted to keep their BT devices off. Compared with the high popularity of BT some years ago, these figures may point towards a descending trend of this technology for the coming years. It might also indicate some actual degree of avoidance from users, given the vulnerability of BT enabled devices to constant or unknown tracking or surveillance.

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Discussion Public Reaction One of the most enlightening aspects of the project was discovering how to successfully gain user participation. Even though a certain level of wariness had been anticipated, as is true with anything new, what had been particularly interesting was how widespread this scepticism was within the general public. Even more surprising however was the complete lack of intrigue that many individuals seemed to possess, even those queuing adjacent to the installation. The distribution of leaflets and the sending of Bluetooth messages allowed for individuals to learn about the project in more depth, from the comfort of their seats. This subtle method of advertisement was particularly effective especially in grabbing the attention of groups. Groups of friends tended to be the most prominent users rather than individuals. In these situations, any question posed tended to be ignored, and the display was used as more as a means of expressing personal messages to one another, ranging from messages of congratulations to petty mocking. In instances in which more than one group was actively using the installation at a time, private conversations began to emerge between the two, either through rival taunts or as questions and answers. It was clear from the content of many contributions that the anonymity provided by the Bluetooth username encouraged bolder responses from individual participants. The board acted as a means of temporary graffiti in which any opinion could be displayed to a wider public without the worry of identification. This really came to light during the student body campaign event. The quantity and variety of questions posed illustrated

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a greater and more probing participation than could have normally been expected from the crowd. This success of this incident also emphasised a common response from the users that implantation of the installation as a simple question and answer forum created intrigue, however this was unsustained. Rather its use in conjunction with other events provided greater scope for wider implementation. From the questionnaires users gave an average rating of 8 out of 10 for the success and interest in the project however only 50% believed that it was useful in its current incarnation, with the other 50% believing it to be a gimmick.

Success and Failures It had been our original aim to create an autonomous installation, however it soon became apparent from our first test, that active participation on our behalf would be required to initially attract users. The use of leaflets and Bluetooth messages to attract users had a significant effect upon the level of participation. They were particularly useful in quelling any anxiety potential users had about connecting their laptops or phones to an unknown medium. Another use of the leaflets was to clearly explain how to participate. From our preliminary testing we discovered that people would often overlook any text on the display in order to gain an overall impression. With this in mind the visual interface was simplified to make it more comprehendible from only a passing view. The position of the projection was changed to feature more prominently in the space, and importantly, in such a way that people would walk across its path. This instantly drew attention to the presence of the project and, often, subsequent participation. 348 MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena


Once we were able to consistently attract participants, we discovered a number of other interesting user traits. Notably social context was an important factor in the participation behaviours of individuals. Having tested the installation in both a cafĂŠ and a bar, during lunch and the evening, we noticed that the level and enthusiasm changed. At lunch time the usage tended to be lower especially with workers. Students with a more open schedule had more time to explore the project and would usually do so individually or in small groups. Bars tended to be more effective than cafĂŠs due to the more relaxed and jovial environment. This is particularly true of large groups of office workers in the evening, which tended to embrace the project for their personal amusement. The unexpected success of the project came with uses of the project that we had not originally anticipated, such as the student election campaigning. We received additional feedback from other members of the public interested in the commercial applications of the product, especially within corporate and office environments. However to realistically diversify or commercialise the project there are a number of technical issues that need to be resolved. One surprising issue we came across was with the use of iPhones. To change the Bluetooth username requires a laptop to change the actual phone settings. This obviously excluded any iPhone user instantly from participation. This was a serious problem, as from our tests we observed that on average, roughly 30 - 40% of the population of a location had iPhones. This is not necessarily indicative of the whole population but is still a significant amount. The use of Bluetooth technology generally however has a number of significant issues in this field. Starting from issues within our project,

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we found that the limited number of characters drastically reduced the potentially contributions from users. This could be argued as promoting concise responses, in a manner similar to Twitter, however most phones only allowed for a maximum of 20 characters, which was often too little. The actually technology used to detect and obtain Bluetooth information provided us with a great deal of trouble, usually associated with the refresh rate and catchment size. However the greatest issue overall is the actual pervasiveness and use of Bluetooth. From our questionnaires we can see that on average less than a third of the public regularly keep their Bluetooth enabled. In addition most users were unaware of how to change one’s Bluetooth username on their devices. On the whole Bluetooth appeared to be a rather redundant medium in this context with little popularity.

Potential Applications From the questionnaires completed, a number of individuals suggested alternate uses of the project. Due to the diversity of the users, we received wide-ranging suggestions from photo sharing to speed dating. However some of the most popular and most exciting are those that work as an aid to existing events, providing new, anonymous forms of communication. Of particular interest had been the use in lectures, presentations and conferences, in which an audience could pose their speaker a series of anonymous questions. It encourages those that would ordinarily not speak to participate in the debate. Other noteworthy suggestions were for pub quizzes, market research, product pitches, events listings and as a help point.

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The Wider Context Despite the fact that many aspects of our project had been implemented before for other installations, there is still nothing equivalent that is available commercially; it is not something pervasive in our everyday living. The level of interaction it allows generated an obvious interest and genuine intrigue among the public. The contribution and the importance of the installation can be realised when we consider the importance of social interaction and encounters in the public space of contemporary societies; mobile technologies can make a real difference since they have the ability to change the immediate environment and streamline our communication and interaction in a way that has never been conceived before. This project is a small yet robust attempt to map the way we perceive space (physical and digital) and our existence within it. It manages to use a common, ubiquitous technological means and convert it to the medium that facilitates social encounter and above all communication.

Acknowledgements This project was developed as part of the module: Embedded and Embodied Technologies of the MSc Adaptive Architecture and Computation, UCL, London. We acknowledge the contribution of Ava Fatah for her constant guidance, Marilena Skavara, William R. Jackson and Kaiti Papapavlou for the support during the development of the work.

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Appendix

A: Illustration reflecting overall results of 1st setup and reaction to example question

B: Illustration reflecting overall results of 2nd setup nd reaction to example question 352 MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena


C: Illustration reflecting overall results of 3rd setup and reaction to example question

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References Brignull H., Rogers Y. (2003), “Enticing People to Interact with Large Public Displays in Public Spaces”. Interact Lab, School of Cognitive & Computing Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton Fatah gen. Schieck, A., Penn, A., O’Neill, E. (2008), “Mapping, sensing and visualising the digital co-presence in the public arena”. In proceedings 9th International Conference on Design & Decision Support Systems in Architecture and Urban Planning, Leende, NL. pp. 38-58. Fatah gen. Schieck, A., Palmer, F., Penn, A., O’Neill, E., 2010 (in print), “Sensing, projecting and interpreting digital identity through Bluetooth: from anonymous encounters to social engagement”. In Foth, M., Forlano, L. Gibbs, M., & Satchell, C. (Eds.) From Social Butterfly to Engaged Citizen, MIT (a book chapter) Fatah gen. Schieck A., Kostakos V., Penn A. (2010) “Exploring Digital Encounters in the Public Arena”. In Willis, K.S., Roussos, G., Chorianopoulos, K.; Struppek, M. (Eds.) Shared Encounters, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany. Kindberg T., Jones T. (2007)“Merolyn the Phone”: A Study of Bluetooth Naming Practices. In UbiComp 2007, 318- 335. Innsbruck, Austria. McCarthy J. F. (2007) “The Challenges of Recommending Digital Selves in Physical Spaces”. Proceedings of the 2007 ACM conference on recommender systems Reid J., Hull R., Cater K. , Fleuriot C. (2005), “Magic moments in Situated Mediascapes” International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology Hosio S., Kukka H., Riekki J. (2008), “Leveraging Social Networking Services to Encourage Interaction in Public Space”. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia http://www.loca-lab.org/ http://gyorol.bascule.co.jp/ http://www.txtualhealing.co

354 MediaCity: Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena


Interaction of Architecture, Media and Social Phenomena Jens Geelhaar 路 Frank Eckardt 路 Bernd Rudolf Sabine Zierold 路 Michael Markert (Eds.)

Mediacity 2010  

Paper for the MediaCity Conference 2010 in Weimar DE

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